In terms of its story line, White God isn’t too different from any other movie in which the bullied rise up and get even with the bullies.
What makes it different — and makes it shine — is that in this case the bullied are abused and mistreated dogs, a species that already knows (perhaps better and more instinctively than us) that there is strength in numbers.
Perhaps the most talked about scene in the much talked about Hungarian film — winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Prize Un Certain Regard Award and an official selection of Sundance Film Festival — is when a pack of 250 dogs, all mutts, stampede through the streets.
And what makes that scene even more impressive is that it was achieved not through computer graphics, but with dogs.
Director Kornel Mundruczo first issued a casting call for 100 dogs for the scene, then decided bigger would be better. More than 200 dogs ended up being involved, many of them from local animal shelters.
The scene serves as the movie’s climax, and it was a first of its kind achievement for the dog trainers involved.
Under the leadership of Hungarian dog trainer Árpád Halász, a team of humans was able to train the dogs to stampede in a pack in what was, in reality, a massive rush for treats.
One of the dog trainers involved, Teresa Ann Miller — daughter of a trainer who worked on films like Beethoven and Cujo — was interviewed about the movie on NPR this week.
Miller helped cast and train the two dogs who shared the role of Hagen.
The movie’s story begins when a young girl is forced to give up her dog, Hagen, because it is of mixed-breed heritage. Her father, unwilling to pay the fee required to keep a mutt, abandons Hagen in the streets.
Young Lili tries to find him, and Hagen tries to find her, but eventually he joins forces with, and becomes the leader of, hundreds of other abandoned, abused and mistreated dogs living in the streets.
As a pack, they rise up to seek revenge for the indignities they’ve suffered at the hands of humans.
(If the film has one fault, it’s the notion that dogs would seek revenge. They’re better than that.)
Miller told NPR that director Mundruczó wanted the stampede scene to look as real as possible — a goal complicated by the fact that no one has ever seen hundreds of domestic dogs running as a pack.
It was first rehearsed with 100 dogs running together.
Trainer Halász watched and then said, “What about 150?” Miller recounted. “And 150 looked so good that he says, What about 200? And each time Árpád learned, as he acquired the dogs and introduced other dogs into the pack, that it was possible.”
It took four months to prepare for the scene, she added.
“And that was amazing to see; that was fascinating. I’ve never seen it done. I’ve never seen such a large pack of dogs run together. And, quite honestly, I don’t think we’d ever do it here (in the U.S.) just for the time that it takes. It’s so much easier just to CGI it, but the director didn’t want that effect at all.”
Posted by John Woestendiek July 30th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, abused, animals, dog, dog training, dogs, entertainment, film, hagen, hungarian, hungary, mistreated, mixed breeds, movies, mutts, neglected, pack, pets, revenge, stampede, streets, trainers, training, white god
It’s a done deal: Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit group that fights chaining, penning and other forms of cruelty to dogs, has closed on Michael Vick’s old house — the former headquarters of the quarterback’s dogfighting operation, Bad Newz Kennels.
Dogs Deserve Better plans to turn the property in Surry County, Virginia, into a center to rehabilitate and resocialize dogs that have been mistreated and abused, with the hope of finding them adoptive homes.
The name of the facility will be: The Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.
The potential deal, which we told you about in February, became a reality in May, when Dogs Deserve Better raised enough money for the down payment and secured a bank loan to purchase the 4,600-square-foot white brick house and surrounding 15 acres.
The group paid $176,507 as the down payment for the house, liisted at $595,000, and is still raising money to pay for the rest and make improvements.
Once complete, it will be a $2.5 million facility, founder Tamira Thayne said told the Virginian-Pilot.
“Purchasing this property and in effect giving it back to the victims of the abuse that occurred here is a very powerful step for animal advocates and our country’s dogs alike,” said Thayne. “We are sending a message to those who want to abuse and fight dogs that a new day is dawning in America, a day where dogs are treated with the love and respect they deserve as companions to humans.”
The Washington Post had a report on the property’s transition from a place of nightmares to a place of hope earlier this month.
Dogs Deserve Better, which will move from its Pennsylvania base to Virginia, has never had a facility of its own, but it says it has rescued and rehomed more than 3,000 dogs during its existence.
Dogs Deserve Better says having the facililty in a house will help in socializing the dogs it takes in. The group hopes to rescue and rehabilitate 500 dogs a year.
Thayne said that, in addition to welcoming visitors, Dogs Deserve Better will also build a memorial on the property for the dogs who died and suffered there, according to Dogster.com.
For more information on the purchase, the plans and how you can donate, visit the website of Dogs Deserve Better.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, adopt, adoption, animals, bad newz kennels, bought, buys, center, chained, dogfighting, dogs, dogs deserve better, dogster, football, former, good newz rehab center, home, house, michael vick, mistreated, moonlight road, nfl, operation, penned, pets, philadelphia eagles, pit bulls, property, purchase, rehab, rehabilitation, rescue, ring, surry county, tamira thayne, virginia
TJ was brought into BARCS by a citizen who found him being tortured by children who had tied string around his neck and were dragging him down the street. The witness, according to BARCS staff, stopped the abuse and brought the dog — subsequently named TJ — to BARCS.
TJ is a male whippet/terrier mix, about two years old. He weighed in at only 13 pounds.
You can see more of TJ, and the kind of comments his case has led to on the Facebook page of Helene Scharf, who is associated with Charlietotherescue.org, which helps find foster care for dogs in need, and helps transport them to new locations.
TJ, like Jellybelly, who we showed you last week will likely be taken in by a rescue organization.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abused, animal cruelty, animal welfare, baltimore, baltimore animals rescue & care shelter, barcs, charlietotherescue.org, children, cruelty to animals, dragged, facebook, kids, mistreated, neglect, news, rescue, shelter, starved, tj, torture
My temporary cat Miley has found a new home. She’s on her way to Oklahoma, once her new trucker owner drops off a load in Bedford, Pa.
She’ll make the journey with her new human — a woman who calls herself “Gipsy Kitten,” and who regularly drives her routes with her other cat, a Persian named “Chuzzle.”
Kitty, for short, emailed me a couple of weeks ago. She’d scene the original video I did about Miley, back when I took her — though I thought she was a he — in off the streets.
Miley was living under the stairway of an empty south Baltimore rowhouse, and reportedly getting mistreated. I didn’t want a cat, but between that and the big snow that was on the way, we decided she’d come home with me until suitable accomodations could be found.
Three months later, Ace and I had bonded with her, but some upcoming life changes (I’ll fill you in on later) required a new home be found, which was the original goal anyway.
Out of the blue, Kitty wrote, and after exchanging emails for a week, we made a plan. She’d sign up for a load in the area. I’d meet her with Miley.
This morning, Ace, Miley and I drove to Frederick and gave Miley to her new human, who also had her two dogs — Havoc and Bonkers — aboard the truck.
Kitty — obviously an animal lover herself — said she was moved by Miley’s story and wanted the cat to keep her husband company. He was disabled in a farming accident and spends most of his time at home in Waynoka, Okla.
This morning’s exchange went smoothly. Miley, who is known to hiss and moan at strange dogs and anything else she doesn’t like, didn’t hiss a bit.
Kitty says, if everybody gets along, Miley will have the run of the truck cab on the ride home.
For Miley, it should be an excellent adventure. For me, it’s a little sad but we shan’t dwell on that. My video tribute (above) will suffice.
Ace, I think, senses the loss as well. The two were cohabitating nicely, though they weren’t exactly snugglebuddies. I think he’ll be glad that the bed will go back to holding just two species at night.
Kitty said she’d keep us posted as she makes her way back home, and I’ll be passing on what she has to report. Safe travels Kitty, and Miley, and Chuzzle, and Bonkers, and Havoc.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 11th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, adopted, animal welfare, animals, bar cat, cat, foster, hauling, home, leon's, lighthouse, miley, mistreated, new home, ohmidog!, oklahoma, pets, reader, rescue, snow, south baltimore, temporary, truck, truck driver, trucker, truckin' cat, video, waynoka